“We need a national approach to combat growing online threat” – PCC backs report’s findings on tackling cyber-dependent crime

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey David Munro has backed calls for a national approach to tackling cyber-dependent crime made in a new report released today.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has inspected how police forces across the country and the National Crime Agency respond to the threat presented by cyber criminals.

Whilst the subsequent report found forces were generally effective at combatting cyber-dependent crime – it also warned how that was being undermined by inconsistencies in approach at a local level.

The report recommends that government should now consider the establishment of a national policing response to deal with cyber-dependent crime which is estimated to cost the UK over £1billion a year.

The PCC has previously said fundamental reform is needed to tackle online crime and called for a national body to lead the response.

The joint Surrey and Sussex Cyber Crime Unit has been operating since 2015 providing investigative provision for all cyber dependent crimes received across the two counties. It also provides tactical advice and subject matter expertise around the digital aspect of investigations.

The team recently received an uplift in resource, through national transformation funding of an extra Detective Constable and a Cyber Protect officer.

PCC David Munro said: “Cyber crime, and in particular online fraud, continues to grow in scale and complexity and knows no regional or international boundaries.

“Police forces are doing the best they can with the resources available but I believe the current approach of forces taking responsibility for investigations at a local level is flawed.

“That is why I agree with the assessment of the HMICFRS that the government should consider establishing of a national response to dealing with cyber-dependent crime with support from individual police forces where appropriate.

“It is not the complete answer of course and any national body set up must work in tandem with Force cyber crime units so we don’t lose that local knowledge and engagement.

“I was heartened to see the HMICFRS report stating forces were generally effective at tackling cyber-dependent crime and only yesterday I went to visit to the Surrey and Sussex team. Though they are only a small unit I was really impressed with the work they were doing to combat what is often really complex criminality.”

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